In a previous posting, I had mentioned that when shopping for plants, a Big Box store might not have the “vernacular” of the gardener down pat.
I am going to assume that you all know that a “Big Box” store is one that buys and sells most products in bulk or “Big Boxes”. Places like Walmart, Sam‘s, Costco, etc. qualify as Big Box stores.
They almost always have a huge garden center, with tons of plants for sale. But, like the other sections of the store, the help you get is not always the best. Looking for a particular kind of screw? You’re on your own! Looking for a variety of hosta? Again, you’re on your own!
If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you might do alright. BUT, if you’re looking for help with choices…you’re in the wrong place. On rare occasions you might find a competent gardener on the staff, but that IS a rarity. If you’re looking for colorful annuals, and lots of them, this is a fine place. BUT, if you intend to purchase a plant that will become a valued part of your garden and landscape, I’d sure go to a local nursery.
When Big Box stores purchase the plants they will sell, we have NO idea from where they come. The best price may be plants from Florida, or Texas. They will not have been grown in soil and weather even remotely like ours. What that means is that when you get the plants into our soil, here in the PNW, the plants may just revolt. They miss home! It’s too wet. It’s too warm. It’s perhaps too cold. Not enough sun. You get the idea.
When, on the other hand, you buy locally, most of those plants have been born and bred right here, near Seattle! (This applies to ANYWHERE you live in the country…you ALL get the same plants from a Big Box Store, no matter WHERE you live!) Most local nurseries grow their own plant material, or buy from a local “farm”. They know that if they buy from far away, chances are the plants will not survive. They can’t risk that, because most of the time they guarantee their plants.
To me that means I would only buy perennials, shrubs and trees from a local nursery. Annuals I don’t worry about as they only last a season anyway. IF you are very garden, or plant savvy, you know how to judge a plants health and variety…go for the lower prices in the Big Box Store. If, however, you’re new at this…pay the little extra, and BUY LOCAL!